The Other Side of Wrong

May 26th, 2013

My travels have progressed rather slowly due to health issues and a fixed income schedule which determines when moving on is practical. The benefits have been undeniable. I’ve viewed the natural wonders of incredibly diverse landscapes and climates. Even more satisfying has been the swell of intense admiration evoked by the sight of so many architectural wonders, each unique to a national identity and history.

Some recent styles seem to be more reflective of a newly imposed uniformity. Lines ‘criss-cross’, in endless arrays of boxes and triangles. A sense of optimism or pessimism is communicated by the height of the ceilings. Apparently, different designers aspire to various degrees of elevation before hitting their glass ceilings. The lines give the appearance of nets, gathering in building occupants as one might gather fish from the sea.

Such uniformity is also experienced in the conversations one overhears. A nearly 24 hour news-cycle of political-speak appears to be, at first glance, almost devoid of content. I first recognized my inability to interpret this ‘speech’ while travelling in southern Europe. To me, Greece represents the cradle of civilization beyond the point where human cells first underwent the process of mitosis. The anthropology shows us the remnants of nomadic peoples free of any tether to a single plot of ground. They subsequently formed groups capable of dividing effort In order to spend less time on survival and thereby embark upon the road to the fulfilment of humanity’s potential.

Today, there is an emphasis on the eradication of national identities into collectives. Diverse populations are being divided into categories as broad as ‘east’ and ‘west’. Members appear to be defined by political orientations equally broad in their definitions, divided into ‘right’ and ‘left’ wing orientations. ‘Right’ seems to identify with a free-market based economy while ‘left’ is misinterpreted as one involving economic supports of a populace by a wealthy government. Further to the right, (the ‘right of right’?) is fascism; the view that economic and social controls belong solely in government hands.

I’ve already blogged about the rules in Greece urging people to walk on the right in synchrony with the recent ‘elections’ of conservatives to their parliament. The term, ‘conservative’, more accurately refers to the National Socialist members. Less kindly put, they are referred to as ‘Neo-Nazis’. To my great shock, I’ve heard political messages radiating from public announcement apparatus found within houses of worship. These included both churches and mosques in several countries, and conveyed messages consistent with themes of these groups. This apparent misuse of the airwaves makes it seem that politics is not just synonymous with religion, but that it may well be on the way to replacing it.

People continue to confuse me in their extremism. The younger half appears to expect little of life other than a quick entry and early departure. Others, determined to be in it for the longer run, brave economic ‘recessions’ to maintain their existences in urban jungles or in rural isolation. Throughout my travels in Western Europe, I’ve seen members of the ‘euro-zone’ fight incorporation into a single entity through an active intifada of products. They eschew products which haven’t been generated locally or by a trusted, next door nation. Designed to spur local industries, this heroic effort to maintain their national integrity in an era of severe economic stresses, seems to buoy their spirits although some brand-names may be misleading about their origins. These days, newspapers report tariffs are being levied upon certain imports but many have already been spurned by consumers.

Conversation is growing among strangers in transit, apparently to identify one’s place on this ‘either-or’ scale. As my tour continued, people actually demanded I assert my direction in life: was I ‘right’ or ‘left’ on the political spectrum?

“Right or left of ‘what’?” I would ask. “Left of fascism in China? ‘Right’ of old style, Eastern bloc communism?”. Statistically, the bell curve contains a large surface area covering the differences between ‘plus’ (+) and ‘minus’ (-) two standard deviations from the mean. The ‘mean’ (in this sense) is the point value which is considered ‘average’ on the scale of human deeds. One needn’t ask the direction in order to see ahead to workable solutions for our problems. Unfortunately, in today’s world, the process of problem solving is without reference to objective facts. It demands we race to a finish line using a white cane to stay inside a set of invisible lane markers. If we’re going to be afraid to address the real constraints, I prefer to think of our answers simply as those which will fall on the ‘other side of wrong’. That is the series of points which divorce ‘force’ from any activity which is legally permitted by a governments’ constitution and legal code because the actions of reasonable, normal people fall within the range of normal.

Barack Obama speaks of being a ‘war-time’ president. All war is extreme so it is hard to see where his ‘mean’ lies. Certain philospophical viewpoints place fading freedoms as solely belonging to the ‘right‘ but being a student of psychology and scientific method, I prefer to remain within the bell curve of rationality and thus avoid any accusations of ‘madness’. I only know that solutions lying within the bell curve tell us that the question of whether you are ‘left’ or ‘right’ isn’t terrible relevant. As long as you are on the other side of wrong, how ‘off-center’ can you get?

That depends upon our ability to identify the problems and their peaceful solutions. In the absence of real dialogue, violence is the time-tested method by which men have resolved their problems. Which shall it be?

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